Page last updated at 20:30 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Gerry Adams angry over Sunday Tribune claims

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams described the Sunday Tribune articles as a 'trail of untruths'

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has strongly denied that he and his party have not done enough to help victims of sexual abuse.

The Sunday Tribune has reported claims that when Mr Adams found out about the abuse cases, he did not do enough to help the women involved.

Mr Adams said the newspaper was reporting a "whole trail of untruths" as part of a "smear campaign".

The Sunday Tribune said it would pursue any party with the same vigour.

This week, the newspaper reported how a woman said she was raped at the age of 16 by a Belfast IRA man.

The woman, Ms Cahill, is the grandniece of veteran republican Joe Cahill.

She said she was raped in the summer of 1997, while working for the West Belfast Festival radio station.

Legal advice

She told the Sunday Tribune newspaper that she met Gerry Adams to discuss what happened but the meeting was "pointless" because it did not lead to a resolution.

On Tuesday, Ms Cahill said the meetings with Mr Adams took place between 2000 and 2006.

The Sunday Tribune has also published a series of articles in which it has alleged that Gerry Adams knew about sexual abuse allegations against his brother Liam but did not do enough to alert his party or relevant authorities about the claims.

We would pursue any political party and its leader with equal vigour given the information we have unearthed
Sunday Tribune statement

In an interview on Wednesday, Mr Adams bitterly criticised the paper's coverage and said he was taking legal advice.

He said: "The Sinn Fein party, I as Sinn Fein president, resent absolutely the false allegations that have been made against me and made against the party.

"I find it hugely frustrating that some of the media outlets can say whatever they want and print whatever they want without reference at all to the truth, accuracy or the rights of individuals in all of these matters.

"This is about victims, people who have been abused in a way which is horrific and that is where the focus should be."

Mr Adams dismissed suggestions that there was a culture of concealment within the republican movement about sexual abuse.

He said: "It's the one big taboo issue and in some small way it is very traumatic for everyone involved. The fact that there is some disclosure I think in the long-term is good for everyone."

In a statement, the Sunday Tribune said it was standing by its stories.

It said: "Sinn Fein has claimed that the Sunday Tribune, in its coverage of the sex abuse cover-up in the republican movement, is engaged in a campaign to smear the party and its president Gerry Adams. This is simply untrue.

"We would pursue any political party and its leader with equal vigour given the information we have unearthed."

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